Weightman is Rio bound after sealing her spot at 2016 Games

Middle-distance star Laura Weightman has spoken of her delight and honour after sealing a dream place at this summer's Olympic Games in Brazil.

Wednesday, 29th June 2016, 9:07 am
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 3:42 pm
16 April 2015 ....... Leeds 1500m runner and Olympian Laura Weightman training at Beckett University in Headingley. TJ100798d Picture Tony Johnson

The Lesbury athlete booked a Team GB spot in Rio de Janeiro with a second-placed finish in the women’s 1500m at Sunday’s British Championships in Birmingham.

It is the second time that Weightman will compete at the Olympics, after coming 11th in the final of her home games in London four years ago.

She is determined to build on that performance in the capital in 2012 and insists she is feeling in good form ahead of the global spectacle in Brazil.

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And booking her place at the Games proved to be a perfect early birthday present for the Northumbrian, who turns 25 tomorrow.

She said: “I am delighted and it is amazing to be going to my second Olympic Games. I am really excited.”

Weightman finished second behind Scotland’s Laura Muir at the British Championships last weekend, which was enough to secure qualification.

Rio 2016 starts on August 5, with Weightman opening her account in the heats on August 12. The semi-finals are two days later, followed by the final on August 16.

Reflecting on her expectations for Brazil, the Commonwealth silver medallist said: “It is difficult to set a target. I want to go out there and perform. I want to make that final and then we will see what happens from there.”

Weightman heads to Brazil having already sampled a taste of the Olympics.

Although, her Rio campaign is a very different story to when she competed at London 2012 – which was not just her first Games, but also her debut at a major championships.

Weightman, who ran a-then personal best time of 4:02.99 in the semi-final of London to reach the final, said: “ It will be a different experience to London, but it is an experience that I am looking forward to.”

The European bronze medallist will be working hard in the coming weeks to fine tune her performance for Rio.

She will be heading to France for a block of high-altitude training and wants to compete in some 800m races, as well as the Diamond League meeting in London in July.

Reflecting on her early-season form ahead of Rio, she said: “I am really happy with how the season has gone so far. I ran a good 4:03.04 in the Diamond League meeting in Eugene in May. It would have been nice to win the British Championships, but the main target was Olympic qualification. I knew I had to finish in second place and I did that.

“There are a few more things I need to do before the Olympics, but I feel like I am in good shape and I feel much better than I felt this time last year before the Worlds in Beijing (she pulled out ahead of the semi-final after a fall in the heats) and hopefully I will be at my best for Rio.”

Weightman, now living in Leeds, will be toasting her 25th birthday tomorrow. She said: “It will be a double celebration – qualifying for the Olympics and my birthday. But I won’t be going too wild.”